A Cross Country Camp For Kids

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - June 23, 2010
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In an effort to motivate high-schoolers to become students of cross country, local running legends Jonathan Lyau and Chet “The Jet” Blanton will host the Aloha Cross Country Camp July 24-28 at Camp Erdman.

“I think there has been a decrease (in interest of high school cross country), probably due to kids having more year-round outside activities and sports to choose from, such as soccer and paddling,” says Lyau, who is assistant coach for Kamehameha Schools’ girls track team and Iolani School’s girls cross country team. “Many kids now just use cross country as their secondary sport and probably don’t develop fully to realize their potential.”

According to Lyau, the camp was established in 2009 and anyone of all abilities entering high school this fall and 2010 graduates who plan to continue to run cross country in college can participate. The goal is to develop the self-confidence, motivation and knowledge necessary to succeed in the sport of cross country.


Lyau, who also is head coach for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program and owns Personal Best Training, started running as a sophomore at McKinley High after seeing a notice in the school paper for the cross country team. He would go on to become the state high school track champion (for the 3,200 m) in 1982 and has been the top local-born finisher at the Honolulu Marathon from 1993 to 2004 and again from 2006 to 2009. He also won the Great Aloha Run in 1994 and 2002, and was inducted into the Honolulu Marathon Hall of Fame in 2009.

“Consistency is the key,” says Lyau on the secret to his running success. “Don’t take too many long breaks. To do this you need to train smart, manage injuries and make working out become a habit.

“Running is second nature to me because it has been part of my daily routine for over 30 years. Once you break the consistency, you will stop and have to start over again.”

Partnering with Lyau as co-director of the camp is Blanton, who has more than three decades of running experience that includes 45 marathons, 80 ultra marathons, more than 100 sprint triathlons, eight half-Ironmans, 14 Ironmans, two double-Ironmans, two triple-Ironmans and is in a select group that has completed a double deca (20 times Ironman distance). He also is the head distance track coach and girls cross country coach for Iolani School, and owner of Team Jet Hawaii.

Throughout the five-day camp, students will participate in different types of running workouts and seminars (topics include nutrition, proper shoes, motivation, injury prevention and supplemental exercises), and take part in a range of fun activities, including games, campfires, swimming and various bonding events.

“(A great runner is made) by becoming a student of the sport,” says Lyau. “Learn about the sport and become a fan of it. You’d be surprised how many avid runners don’t even know who holds the world records or what the world record time is. You can learn a lot by reading articles and even doing trial and error in your training. Everyone reacts differently to training, so know what works for you.

“To become a great runner you need to train smart, stay motivated, stay injury free and have some natural ability. If you have natural ability but are missing one of the other ingredients, then someone of lesser ability can still be faster if they have all the other qualities.”

As for the most common mistake runners make, Lyau says it’s not giving their bodies time to adapt to the stresses of run training and not allowing sufficient time to recover. This often leads to injury early on and then having to start over again.

“Many underestimate the importance of the base training period, which is the time your muscles and joints get used to the stresses of running with lots of easy runs with a few short nonstressful fast run drills,” he explains. “After this, you should be able to increase and handle more intensity. A bigger base equals bigger peak.”

Cost for the camp is $400 and includes food, lodging, all activities, T-shirt and goody bag. Space is limited.

For more information, call 227-8777, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) m or visit www.alohacrosscrountrycamp.com.

The Honolulu Marathon is scheduled for Dec. 12; applications for Hawaii residents are now being accepted at a special early entry fee of $45 through June 26. After that, the fee for kamaaina is $95. Download a form at www.honolulumarathon.org

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